There is an individual whom I came across in the blog world about two years ago. We developed an Internet friendship. Not only were we blog buddies but we also became Facebook friends. I was drawn to this individual because I liked the drive and energy that I saw. This person is young, African American, and college educated, a Journalism enthusiast, as well as active in the community. I felt this was a person on the way to being an awesome role model for other young people and even told them that. I saw so much growth in the years I knew this person. We shared words of wisdom, spiritual truths as well as daily realisms.
I supported this individual as best I could for a distance relationship, I visited and commented on their blog posts, I visited and commented on their facebook page, I viewed their ireports, as well as read the other writings they had on the Internet. Well one day back in July, this individual had a piece of writing published on the Huffington post. so I went by to read and comment. It so happens that this contribution was politically based. This should have raised a red flag in my mind but it did not! We have had differences of political opinions before. I would say my piece, they would say their piece and we move on. Not so this time! Below is this individual's published commentary, my response to it and then the response back to me.
Original commentary via the Huffington post July 27, 2010
President Obama is coming back to town next week for a birthday party. Unfortunately, there have been too many families in this city gathering for funerals instead of celebrations. In the past two months, we have lost three Chicago police officers to the same violence they worked to keep the public safe from. But still no action plan from the White House.
Two months ago, I wrote about this issue and that blog was featured in a local news report. However, I am starting to learn that the pen is not always mightier than the sword. Money talks and everything else seems to be walking around our neighborhoods asking for votes. And I am not saying that we should depend on anybody but ourselves to change this problem. Yet there is an issue of us doing more work than our politicians.
We can mediate verbal conflicts before they turn violent, but it is the responsibility of government agencies like the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) to provide information about how these guns are getting into our communities. The last time I checked, there weren't a lot of shootings in ritzy Chicago suburbs like Highland Park, Winnetka, or Naperville. Most of the shootings occur in low income neighborhoods. It seems like you need money to keep guns away from your community.
It would be nice if those poor residents (like myself) could afford a ticket to the DNC fundraiser in Chicago that the President is attending. Sure, he wouldn't have time to entertain any of those matters because he is President of "the United States of America" and not "poor folks in Chicago." But for some reason, poor folks in Chicago don't feel so American anymore. People don't see that our issue is an American issue. They see it is as something that only affects them if "those people" show up at a popular food festival (known by some as "The Taste of Chicago") and start a commotion.
Whether anyone agrees with me or not, I'm going to keep waiting by my window until Mr. President sees me as an American citizen and not a black guy from Chicago trying to get media attention. (That's probably why his administration keeps ignoring me.)
Folks have criticized me for being an opportunist, but that couldn't be any further from the truth. I've even had my closest friends and family passionately disagree with me about this issue. They say, "Zack, we must hold (Chicago) Mayor Daley accountable!" or "These thugs don't even know who Obama is." While I disagree with my friend's assumptions of the political savvy of street thugs, I understand their viewpoints.
But I'm going to stand for what's right--even if I have to stand alone sometimes.
And I don't want to hear from Robert Gibbs, the President's press secretary. If we have time for Beer Summits and banter about Shirley Sherrod, we have time for the kids in Chicago who might not make it back to their first day of school.I'm not asking the White House to do our job for us; I'm asking the folks in the White House to do their job for us.
So I read it and then I commented:
Hmmm, I'm a bit confused. What exactly is it that you are waiting by the window for the President to do? There is gun violence everywhere not just in your Chicago. New York, Detroit, California, some of the toughest gangs are actually in Arkansas with phenomenal gun related deaths and the list goes on. Is a gun related crime more devastating than a white collar crime of a suburban man siphoning millions from elder SSI accounts? Ritzy suburbs have crime right along with everyone else. Maybe instead of standing around and congregating on the streets, the suburban criminals are on the internet, and in the banks and in the PTA. Crime is crime, and it happens everywhere. Or are you exhibiting reverse racism by thinking that since Obama comes from Chicago and is black then Obama must be responsible? Gun violence did not start with this administration and it will surely not end with this administration. And do you honestly thing the ATF is going to come and tell you where the guns are coming from?? The only way to clean up any neighborhood, any city is person by person, block by block, one small battle at a time. We cannot stop celebrating life for fear of the crime that over runs our communities but we do have to do our part to stop the disease of crime that effects all of us. So keep sitting by your window, hope you get the answers you seek...
Then the person responded to me:
Nope, "Sitting by the window" is a figurative expression in this case.
I realize that violence is everywhere...including Washington, D.C. But our violence epidemic is so unique that it's gaining national attention. The other cities have not had at least 5 bloody weekends over the summer and spring where 40 folks were shot each time- but Chicago has.
No matter how much I complain, he probably won't do it for those reasons. But what angers me the most are people who hold Obama accountable for health care but not the prevention of future deaths and injuries due to violence.
But you can't take my voice from me.
So we both said our piece, right, wrong or indifferent. In my mind we moved on, BUT then I found out that this person "DELETED" me from their Facebook friends. Wow, that's interesting. But I'm thinking it can't be over the article... there must be some other reason. So I sent them a message asking why I was deleted and got no response. Then I sent another message saying, I'm not sure why you deleted me but when you are ready to talk about it let me know! Then I kept it moving, because life was still going on! Then here I am almost 4 months later and I received a message from this person.
I am sorry for my behavior but I did not like your response to my Obama article. I felt like you cheered me on via Facebook but belittled me on Huffington Post. Other than that, I do miss your wit and candor.
*extending the olive branch*
So my response was this...
No worries & No hard feelings! Everyone has their own voice and opinions, perhaps my delivery was wrong. But in any event if you felt belittled or attacked than I humbly apologize because that was never my intention. I always tried to cheer you on because I feel that our young black people are exposed to so much negativity and not enough love and support. This does not mean that I will disregard my own feelings and opinions(which I have no problems voicing, sometimes to a fault!). But again, all is forgiven! Let's keep it moving! Stay Blessed! ~JRS~
So the message for today is, Know How To Handle Differences Of Opinion. In life people will NOT always agree with you. EVERYONE is entitled to their own opinion. GREAT MINDS THINK FOR THEMSELVES! Deal with it and MOVE ON!
Peace & Love All!
GET OUT & VOTE!!!
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